Daniele De Rossi has admitted Italy struggled to cope with the Republic of Ireland’s physical approach during their Euro 2012 match.
Italy recorded a 2-0 win in the Group C match on Monday, thanks to goals from Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli.
The victory saw them book their ticket for the quarter-finals, but Roma player De Rossi conceded it was by no means a convincing performance.
“We struggled in this game, perhaps more than in the previous two. We couldn’t find any space as they closed it down well,” De Rossi said.
“The Irish are a good team, very physical. They definitely made it a very difficult game, so they deserve credit for that.
“They play a good long-ball game and all you need is one mistake, one good moment for them. It’s not easy when all of their side are so physical.”
Italy will meet the winners of Group D in the quarter-finals.
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